Inspired by Baja stands hawking innovative "supertacos," California chef Deborah Schneider creates her own takes on Mexican street-food favorites.

Food & Wine
March 01, 2010

California chef Deborah Schneider is lucky to live so close to Tijuana. A self-described "taco hound," she makes the 15-minute drive to the Mexican city every month, and those trips often inspire dishes at her Newport Beach restaurant, Sol Cocina, as well as recipes in her cookbooks, like the forthcoming Amor y Tacos.

Some of Schneider's favorite Tijuana street-food finds helped her create the recipes here. The city's El Taco de la Ermita, for instance, is known for "supertacos" made with unusual fillings like crab or filet mignon. Following its lead, Schneider invented her own unusual supertacos, like a fabulous one stuffed with chipotle-rubbed salmon and topped with a chunky, fresh apple-cucumber salsa. "My biggest objection to traditional salsas is that they're not crunchy," she says.

In addition to supertacos, Schneider adores toritos—stuffed peppers. But instead of the usual jalapeños, she opts for milder güeros, which she fills with shrimp and a bit of cheese. These Baja-style recipes offer what Schneider calls "a sneaky healthiness," but they'll satisfy anyone who loves Mexican flavors.

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